TODAY'S PAPER
49° Good Afternoon
49° Good Afternoon
OpinionLetters

Letter: Don't confuse aging and Alzheimer's

Reader letters to Newsday for Monday, Sept. 9, 2019

Photo Credit: Kacso Sandor

While I applaud the Sept. 3 editorial, “Sensible effort on Alzheimer’s,” I disagree with some of its descriptions of the symptoms of the disease.

Forgetting names or misplacing items, for most older adults, is a sign of the normal “ravages of aging,” as you call them. Take it from a 79-year-old, most of my 70-plus friends and relatives show signs of aging like misplacing keys or forgetting names of places. They are often slower in responding to questions or processing information.

While these may be signs of early loss of brain function, your lumping in signs of normal memory loss with those who suffer delusions or those who no longer are able to identify faces of family and friends, suggests they are a form of dementia. This can cause undue anxieties and panic for many individuals and families.

Your appeal for federal and individual support of Alzheimer’s research is on target. The need for both is critical.

Paul Arfin,

  Hauppauge

Building the wall is national defense

I’m psyched that President Donald Trump has found a creative solution in diverting $3.6 billion in military contracts to pay for a 175 miles of his proposed Southern border wall to defend America from unrelenting illegal immigration, as well as human and drug trafficking and the threat of terrorism [“Rush to finish border fence,” News, Aug. 29].

The U.S. military’s primary job is to defend America from harm. What patriotic citizen would object to this diversion of funds that will actually defend America?

Trump rigorously campaigned on this wall and he’s using every trick to fund it, despite massive political opposition. Therefore, when it’s finally completed, I recommend naming the wall the Donald J. Trump Make America Great Again Wall, or the Trump MAGA Wall.

Eugene R. Dunn,

  Medford

Wasn’t Gillibrand always full time?

After Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand suspended her run for the presidency, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo tweeted, “The people of NY are fortunate to have her back full time” [“Gillibrand ends ‘20 bid,” News, Aug. 29].

Gee, and I thought she was elected to always be our full-time senator. Silly me!

Gary Anderson,

  Smithtown

Give more attention to sportsmanship

After the women’s singles match in which Naomi Osaka defeated teen Coco Gauff at the U.S. Open tennis tournament, there was a beautiful moment when Osaka consoled Gauff and invited her to be a part of the post-match interview [“Osaka too much for Coco,” Sports, Sept. 1].

Although you devoted a full page in the Sunday sports section to their encounter, such gracious behavior deserved to be featured on the back page.

Perhaps if we all exhibited the same compassion for our fellow citizens, there might be less strife in our country and the world.

Thank you, Naomi, for being a role model for all sports participants.

Donna Blankman,

  Port Washington

Help for people battling addiction

I was glad to see your story about successful treatments for opioid addiction [“Drug can offer an alternative for addicts,” News, Sept. 2], but I was disappointed that the coverage of the Food and Drug Administration-approved treatment naltrexone (brand name Vivitrol) was limited to a brief paragraph that seemed to cast this nonaddictive medication in a negative light by emphasizing the possible upper limits of its cost — a cost often covered by insurance programs and Medicaid.

For several years, the group Vivitrol Education and Support: A Shot at Life has met at St. Bernard’s Church in Levittown to support those addicted and their families. So many lives have been saved through the combination of this non-opioid, nonaddictive medication and counseling.

I encourage people seeking help for an addiction or for family members to learn more by visiting Room 206 of St. Bernard’s Church school Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m.

Walter Rodier,

  Levittown

I appreciate Newsday’s efforts to increase awareness and education about the opioid crisis, but the repeated references to those with substance use disorder as “addicts” and “junkies” in your news story further reinforces the perception that those struggling with addiction are beneath us.

It’s one thing if an individual describes himself or herself this way, but it is another for Newsday to use that sole descriptor to identify anyone in that situation. It’s poor practice and stunts society’s ability to convey compassion and hope around this subject.

Those with substance use disorder already feel stigmatized. As providers of health care, we encourage them to seek the help they need. Negative labels used in mainstream dialogue significantly hinder our efforts. Words matter, and Newsday has the ability to publish a humanistic narrative.

Dr. Sandeep Kapoor,

  New Hyde Park

Editor’s note: The writer is director of the Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment program for Northwell Health.

Comments

We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

Columns